March 1st, 2010
12:20 PM ET
8 years ago

Sen. Lincoln gets primary challenge

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (right) announced he will launch a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (left).

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (right) announced he will launch a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (left).

(CNN) - Add a primary challenge to Sen. Blanche Lincoln's growing list of political problems.

Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter announced Monday morning that he's launching a Democratic primary challenge to Lincoln, who was already facing a tough re-election battle this year.

"Washington is broken. Bailing out Wall Street, with no strings attached while middle class Arkansas tax payers with the bill. Protecting insurance company profits instead of patients and lowering health costs. Gridlock, bickering and partisan games while unemployment is at a 25 year high. Enough is enough. It is past time to put more Arkansas values in Washington," said Halter in an anti-incumbent message in a video posted on his Web site.

Four progressive organizations, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America,, and Daily Kos, released an e-mail pledging to raise half a million dollars over the next week for Halter, who worked in President Bill Clinton's administration. Halter is expected to formally announce his primary bid Tuesday when he files papers of candidacy at the state capitol in Little Rock.

Halter's move means Lincoln will now add a challenge from the left to a number of challenges from the right. Since she teamed up with Vice President Joe Biden last year to launch her re-election bid for a third term, Lincoln has faced criticism from labor unions and progressive groups for what they describe as her move to right in order to save her seat.

Recent polls of Arkansas voters suggest Lincoln's approval rating and favorable ratings have dropped over the past year, a fact that's encouraged eight Republicans to battle for the GOP Senate nomination. A survey last month indicated that many of those Republican challengers were either leading or deadlocked with Lincoln in hypothetical general election matchups.

Update: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed Monday afternoon that President Barack Obama will support Lincoln in her primary fight with Halter.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Arkansas • Bill Halter • Blanche Lincoln • Popular Posts
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    maybe ARK will get a REAL Democrat in there and not a Blue-dog DINO like they have now.

    March 1, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Randy McLeod

    To Whom It May Concern:

    We, the American people, need new faces(people) in Congress, PERIOD. It seems like the rustic ones just want to hear their voices heard and do no action afterwards. All promises and none fulfilled?

    This might get me in hot water, but it's RE: DADT Policy. Sen. John McCain was on the floor (Congress)sometime back. Saying how they shouldn't repeal the policy. But, when he said "The U.S. has the best trained, best e-quipped military in the world." Wasn't he contradicting himself? Isn't the gays/lesbians still in the military? Isn't that so, Sen. John McCain?

    So, really, the American people don't need people who are confused, baffled, money-hungry, stuck in one place, and the best one, on the take.

    Have fun election day.

    Randy McLeod

    March 1, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Ben

    blanche lincoln is _not_ a democrat.

    "she is against climate change legislation, public option, unions, blacks appointnments to the federal courts, you can go on and on. she talks about balancing the budget and controlling spending and then pushes huge tax breaks for the wealthy in the stimulus and other bills."

    Maybe she's a Democrat with half a brain. Maybe she doesn't buy into the climate change BS, and she definitely doesn't support a public option the way you and your Lib friends obviously do. Too bad she's gonna lose one way or the other.

    March 1, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Black Viper

    Now she will change her ridiculous attitute trying to please the unpleasable or be in the pocket of big corporations trying to derail reform.

    March 1, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Good, Lincoln has passed her freshness date. It's time to go.

    March 1, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Ben

    Jonathon Burton – "Blanche is one of the Senators that has helped derail healthcare.
    She has wasted he time (and ours) in not doing to popular thing for her constituents."

    Where did you get the odea these healthcare bills were popular? Have you been paying attention? Obviously not. The majority of Americans have spoken. We DO NOT want what Washington is peddling. You obviously haven't gotten the message.

    March 1, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. david, CA

    it'd be nice to kick out a DINO (Democrats In Name Only) like Lincoln and replace her with someone who is willing to stand his ground against these crybaby Republicons who think they should still call the shots as the minority party.

    March 1, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. JS007

    Blanche Lincoln is a fool who thinks that being Republican-Lite can somehow make her keep her job. She sabotaged the health bill and validated the GOP talking points instead of acting like a leader and doing what is right for the people. It is time that spineless politicians like her are shown there are consequences to constantly triangulating and only caring about your own re-election while your constituents suffer.

    March 1, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Rumsfeld

    You go Mr. Halter! Move Senator Lincoln aside.

    March 1, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. It has begun-

    CNN you claim to be a legitimate news org. but yet you don't report the facts. The so-called Tea Party Candidate in Nevada is not fr the original Tea Party that we see on the news. It is a fake Tea Party candidate created by the Dirty Harry Reid campaign to siphen of votes fr the Republican Candiate that is currently kicking Dirty Harry's butt. That is the real truth! When Democrats can win they turn to dirty cheating lying resort!

    CNN why don't your reporters know this OR perhaps YOU DO KNOW but don't want the facts to get out until after the elections!???

    It is shameful that this media organization I use to turn to first had turned so biased and unreliable. Your ratings are proof of this.

    March 1, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Good, get the conservadems out!

    March 1, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. kev49426

    Please...that's all America needs is more progressives in office...We're bankrupt NOW and there is no more matter how many people we want to take care of. It's just time to seriously shrink government and get them out of our lives and business. Time for people to be willing (and allowed to) pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Time to return to the kind of freedom and responsibility that this country was built on. We have seen what the progressives look like...Nancy, Harry, and OBigmistake...what a joke. Bunch of flippin communists. I learned my lesson. No more Democrats for me. And the tea party needs to stay free of any party affiliation so they can keep all these bums honest and working for US.

    March 1, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Ben

    James M Holmes – "We will probably see some Democratic Senators go down in Nov., but it will ONLY be the most conservative Dems! All the "liberal" Dems who actually vote for the middle class in this country will be still standing. Count on it..."

    Oh, really? Care to put your money where your mouth is? If you honestly believe that you just go ahead and keep whistling past the graveyard. You're in for a real rude awakening come November.

    March 1, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    What makes anyone think things will change with a former Clintonian in there instead? If anything, it'll get WORSE!

    March 1, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Larry

    This lady should really just admit to being a Repub and change parties; it's the only honest thing to do, and her constituents would probably support her. In her part of the country, to be a true Democrat is to be out of step with the status quo. You don't have an abundance of critical thinkers below the Mason-Dixon line. Most of those people just 'feel' things instead of 'think' things. I know because it's where I'm from.

    March 1, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. david, CA

    As long as all these FOX following sleaze bag interlopers are attacking Halter with every crazy lie they can muster – and warning us not to be "deceived" by this guy – then Halter absolutely has my support.

    March 1, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    I'm still trying to figure out why this is "bad news" as stated on CNN's homepage in th elink to the Ticker. This is democracy in action. Sure, anyone running for re-election would rather go unopposed, but to consider it "bad news" that you have to actually win an election? Silliness.

    Of course, EVERYTHING has to be a big fat honking controversy doesn't it CNN? Keep that ad revenue a-flowin'....

    March 1, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "You're in for a real rude awakening come November."

    So are a lot of incumbent Republicans. To stick with the cliches: don't count them chickens until they've hatched.

    March 1, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. sgurdog

    Great news!

    March 1, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. ted

    Yet another Repukelican complaining about the ills of Washington DC and promising to clean it up, this one saying that ARkansas values are better than all others. Oh sure. Can anyone define Arkansas values? Nah, I didn't think so. Just more baloney from the Grand Obstructionist Party AKA the Party of NO.

    Go away GOP. You are to blame fully for Washington DC and how it does not work for the American People.

    March 1, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Justin

    YEAH! Let's go progressives!

    March 1, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. RTB

    A real Democrat is Liberal.

    It is wrong when some of these so called Democrats get into office and then show their Republican colors. They should not be re-elected.

    A Democrat is for the working men and women of this country, protecting them from the corporate interests.

    Corporate interests like the insurance companies have banded together with enormous revenues to buy off the law makers and keep the status quo. Sticking it to the working folks.

    March 1, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Alvin and the chipmunks

    They should wear T Shirts with the slogan,"dont drink our water".

    March 1, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "I like how the liberals are now calling themselves Progressives as a sort of camouflage to hide their true nature of being a Socialist."

    Is that sort of like "compassionate conservatism" being code for "warmongering religio-fascist"?

    March 1, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. lilacluvr

    What a laugh to see some of these Repubilcans talk about Democrats spending us into bankruptcy. Don't look now, but that bankruptcy boat left the pier under a Republican President. Reagan doubled the deficit in 1983. George W. Bush spent borrowed money from China (now that was a smart move, huh?) on the Iraq War and tried to start another war with Iran before he left. Bush also bloated the government by ramming Medicare Drug Program down our throats. Now who is it again that is bankrupting our country?

    March 1, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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